Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's Electric..Boogie, Woogie, Woogie!

WE HAVE LIGHTS!  Real working lights!  And they look beautiful in the evening (especially since it's getting darker and darker, earlier and earlier)! 

My friends - those are lights that you see! 
I cruised through the house while the electricians were there checking on everything. So much fun seeing LIGHTS ON!!!  Loved getting to see the under-cabinet lighting. 

They also had the floors down in the morning room!!! I'm in LOOOOOOVE!!! 

Also, as promised, here is a better picture of the fireplace.

And a close up of the porch stone.  It's a little darker than I wanted... grr! 

We have our inspection scheduled for Friday even though they won't be quite done with everything.  I wanted to be sure the inspection report could be sent to our PM with time to make any corrections that are needed.  The only other time the inspector had open was Tuesday, and since we close on Wednesday, I felt like that was cutting it close. 

I can't believe that we'll be homeowners again this time next week!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We Have Power... Sort of...

Well, you can all uncross your fingers and toes now! The power company pulled through and they were able to get the power turned on yesterday! We went by yesterday afternoon and they had not actually turned the power on to our house yet though. They should be doing that today! Hooray! Now I can stop stressing about power :) And stop annoying our PM for updates. 

They also did A LOT yesterday - our stone has been put in on the front of the house, the fireplace has stone now, they installed our carpet upstairs and started to do so downstairs, we have real garage steps and railings for the porch, and the whole house was full of blue tape to note areas that need to be fixed. 

I had to snap a picture of our meter at 0! It will never say that again :)

It was hard to get a good picture of the stone because they were still working, so I'll have one for you later. It looks fantastic in person! We are very happy with that selection. 

The upstairs carpet was a little darker than I remembered, but I do think it will look good once we get everything in.  It also wasn't as "plush" as I thought it would be since we upgraded the padding. I am checking on the padding they used to make sure it's what we selected. 

We also got a little more sod in the back, but that is definitely all we are getting. We will have to add more once we close to fill the back yard. 

You can see the darker green sod towards the back. This is looking from the edge of the house. 

This is from the back corner of the lot. So a decent amount of area to fill in. 

Well, that's it for now! They are putting in our hardwoods today and I can't wait to see them! We should also get to see the electricity in action!!! Woohoo!!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Power Update and Countdown #10, 9, 8...

First, a quick power update:
I've been driving our PM crazy with requests for updates on the power.  I know it's not on him, but it's really go me stressed.  Note that our pre-settlement walk through is on Monday 11/3and closing/settlement is next Wednesday 11/5. 

Below is an email update from late Monday -

The contractor for VA power showed up today to bore under the street by the entrance to your section. This is what VA power says need to be done so that they can finish all connections and get power on. They have promised to have their crew there tomorrow now that the street has been crossed by their contractor. Just as before  though I don't know it for sure until I see their trucks. I do feel today was a big step in getting us moving in the right direction. 

I believe this is what the contractors did yesterday! 

Assuming that we get power tomorrow the plan is to install carpet when they have the power to be able to use their tools for the install. Stone will be installed tomorrow. Hardwood will be installed Wednesday. I will have the house blue taped for drywall on Friday. Blue taped for Paint on Saturday. Cleaned Monday morning before my quality inspection.

During a typical schedule without power delays the hardwood, carpet, drywall, and paint are each allotted one day to complete there scope of work listed above. With the schedule above they all still have a day each to do their job.

If power does not show up tomorrow and the painter does not agree to work Sunday we will may have to move some things around.

I will not sacrifice quality for speed on your home. If I can not get the home complete in a quality manner because of VA power's delay I will let you know that we need to push the delivery of your home.
So, once again, keep your fingers crossed we get power today!

Now, on to fun stuff!  I loved the idea of doing a countdown to closing, and since we are 8 days away I thought I'd get started with #10, #9 and #8!

Reason #10 I can't wait to move in: Driving to Daycare!
We decided to move Sweet D to her new daycare that is closer to our new house when the new school year started after Labor Day. It's about 20 minutes from our rental and our work. So, it hasn't been too long, but after 2 months of driving 20 minutes to the new daycare and 20 minutes back to work every morning AND every evening... We are both ready to have a closer commute!!! 

Yay for less miles on the car! And since we won't be driving by the house every day after work to check on things (yep, we're obsessive), we'll have even more time in the evenings!!!

Reason #9 I can't wait to move in: No more boxes!!!
We decided to sell our house last fall. We got serious about decluttering and packing in February. We spent March and April packing up boxes and painting and prepping our house. In May we put the house on the market. In July we packed up and moved out. We partially unpacked in our rental, but we have boxes everywhere here. Now it's time to pack again... So if you're keeping track, we've been in boxes for  almost 9 months! I am ready to make our final move to our forever house and unpack for the last time for a long, long time!!!

I hope I can get our garage to look like this! 

Reason #8 I can't wait to move in: Garage and Paved Double Driveway!
I've never had a garage before... so I am stoked to have one!  Especially right before winter gets here!  I know garages have a tendency to get junky/cluttery, but I really hope we are able to keep ours organized. 
I'm also excited that our driveway is paved (we had gravel at the last house and I HATED it!), and it's a double driveway.  We can park side by side and not have to do the car shuffle in the mornings/evenings anymore!!! I am very excited about that!

Older picture, but a good one of our beautiful driveway!

Are you excited about a new commute? Are you even more excited to be done with boxes?!?  Are you as OCD as me to organize your garage?!?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kicking Off Week 12

Hey there! Just a quick update today - We still don't have power :(

They have continued to do as much as they can -
  • Our back door is boarded up now
  • They put in our street lamp
  • They've painted our exterior doors

We also got confirmation that more sod has been ordered for the back yard, so that's coming. 

I've emailed our PM to see what the plan is for this week.  He's assured us a few times that we shouldn't be worried about our closing date... but I'm starting to worry.  It's not his fault that the power monopoly company hasn't come out yet.  I'm also worried if we do get power this week, that our floors are going to be rushed and I don't want sloppy work. 

That's it for now - I've got a fairly busy week at work, so I'll try to drop in an update here or there as I can!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2 More Weeks!!!

We went by the house this afternoon and they have put in our sod, the microwave/hood, porch columns, and they've stained our  stairs! 

We also got our garage door!

One thing we noticed is that our PM and SR told us that we would have 25-30 feet of sod in the back yard. It looks like we might have 20 feet from the short side of the house. I thought it would be 25-30 feet from the morning room. I'm checking, but my guess is that this is all we are getting. Lots of red mud still left behind. 

As for power - still none :/
Our PM said he's being told tomorrow. But he's been told that every day... so we will see. 

While we were at the house for a little while last week (for the fence and patio quotes) and we noticed a few things that we had questions about - below are our questions and our PM's response. 
Q1. The granite in the kitchen - We noticed that there are 2 pretty big scratches/dents on the edge of the granite on the slab by the sink.  There's also another scratch on the granite on the other side of the sink. Can you check this out? 
We also noticed that the granite lip/backsplash behind the sink is not level - but they may be adjusting that when they come back out for finishing touches?

A1. I have send the repairs listed to the granite company and they will be by next week to fix them.

Q2.  Foundation vents by the morning room outside - There are 2 vents in the brick foundation under the sliding glass door (outside).  We had planned on putting in stone steps to lead outside.  The steps would cover the vents (at least 1, possibly both).  Is it a problem if we cover up the vents?  Is there any way to move the vents at this point? 

We know putting in the patio will be done after we close, but we wanted to check in to see what this would affect (if anything).  I would think most people have steps coming out of the morning room so this probably comes up?

A2.The foundation vents are in per plan. I do not see an issue if one gets covered up as you have plenty around the rest of your foundation to allow air flow during the summer months. I will double check with my foundation contractor and confirm at your walk through that this will not be an issue. 

This is what we marked out for the patio. 
Q3. Irrigation System - Can you tell us what day they are coming out?  This is something we really want to have a say in where things go as much as we can.  We also want to see where the lines go. 
We would like the irrigation to come in at least 3 feet from the property lines (so it's not an issue with our fence), and a few feet away from the area we are going to set up as our patio.  We know you can't be everywhere at once, and we really don't want to be in the middle of the guys working... but we want to be around for this. 

A3. I have spoken to the irrigation contractor and let him know to stay 3ft off of the property line and avoid your patio area. The guys will be out Monday to install the irrigation. 

*So, they installed the irrigation. It seems like they out in stuff really weird, but I've never had irrigation before so I don't know?

Q4. We are starting to get worried about not having power and this causing a delay. 

A4. Don't worry. I've had guys working to get everything finished that does not require power. Once power comes we will only need to install floors. Do drywall and paint and clean the home. My boss and I have both been calling VA power every day trying to get an update from them.  

That's it for now... I can't believe we only have 2 weeks to go!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Electrical and Lighting

I've been meaning to post about this for a while and keep forgetting!

First a little rant - When it comes to overhead lighting, I think it's pretty ridiculous that this is not standard at Ryan Homes. Other builders may do this too, but I can only speak to Ryan. I think it's a racket that you have to pay to have overhead lighting in bedrooms and other main areas.  They get away with it by have the light switch connected to an outlet (for a lamp).  We opted to put in ceiling fan/light rough-ins in all of the bedrooms, the loft, formal living room, family room and morning room. If you're keeping track, that means overhead lighting is only included in the foyer, dining room, kitchen, stairway upstairs hallway, bathrooms, laundry room and master closets.

Now, on to the electrical.  Our SR gave us an electrical layout of the home so we had the ability to see where outlets were generally placed and where the light switches connect. Through Ryan Homes, you also have the ability to add extra outlets or lighting in the home.

Standard Rome Electrical Layout re-created by my hubby

Now, this is one project that my husband had a lot if fun with. He took the layout that our SR gave us, recreated it (everywhere you see blue is standard) and then added in red our requests/additions. 


We brought this with us to the pre-construction meeting and our SR and PM had never seen anyone do that before. I was so proud of my hubby - he worked so hard on this project! Our PM posted this in our home with the other plans so it was clear what we wanted. I think it helped a lot to make sure everything was put in correctly. 

Did you re-create your electrical layout with your Project Manager?  Do you love ceiling fans as much as us?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 11 is here!

Hey there!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We enjoyed some great weather, trip to the pumpkin patch and had some family pictures taken.  Overall a really nice weekend!

Couldn't resist putting in an adorable picture of our sweet girl!
On Friday, we were at the house during lunch to get more quotes on a fence and patio.  Once we were done with that we drove to the end of the street to check out the other houses that are being built.  We ran into our Project Manager and got a couple of updates -
  • Weekly update:
    • Irrigation folks will be out on Monday
    • Sod folks will be out on Tuesday
    • The rest of the week kind of depends on power...
  • Power - He's been calling multiple times a day to get an update from the power company.  It should be any day now.  He said once they get out there, it only takes a few hours to get it all turned on.  Fingers crossed we get power this week!
  • Stone - It's on backorder.  All of the other houses in our neighborhood that are in the same stage of being built already have their stone if it's stacked.  Apparently the round stone is on backorder from the supplier.  Our PM has escalated the issues to the bigwigs corporately because it's also holding up another house on another street as well. 
  • Flooring - Can't go in until we have power.  He said it could be done, but that there is usually a lot of issues later on if they do that.
  • Granite - We noticed a few dings when we were there on Thursday in one of the slabs.  Our PM was aware of it and said that the granite folks would be back out to fix it.
  • Plumbing - One of the little extras our PM does is run a camera down the drains/plumbing to make sure there are no issues prior to closing.  He likes to do this so they catch it before it becomes a problem after we move in.  
  • Finishing Touches - Because were are getting a little delayed due to no power, he said that he'll have 2 crews of folks that do all of the finishing touches prior to walk through.
  • Delay in delivery date?
    • I point blank asked the PM if we were going to be delayed in our closing date.  He assured me that we still had plenty of time and he had built in some extra days for the power delay.  I told him that I'd much rather him go ahead and tell me now that we may be delayed because I hate getting my hopes up and having them dashed.  He swears that we don't need to worry.

It's hard to believe this is what our lot looked like at the beginning of August!

And this is what our lot looks like now!
So, looks like I'm asking again to keep your fingers crossed we get power this week!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Update

While I was out of town, hubby went by the house on Wednesday.  We were excited to see that we have landscaping!!! They put in the shrubbery and trees (we get 2!).  They also put down straw everywhere.  That seems a bit odd to me if they are putting in sod, right?  Also, it seems a little weird that they would do the shrubbery in front of the porch before they put in the stone...

Here is one of our trees.  It's some kind of maple.
Thursday we went out to meet with some folks to get a fencing quote as well as a patio quote.  While we were at the house we got to see them work on some of the stonework.  They put in the steps and put in the mortar (?) on the wall.  Hopefully this afternoon/evening we will get to (finally) see our stone getting put in!

Here's a closer picture of our granite - for anyone that is interested from my earlier post about backsplashes.  It's Santa Celia.

Did your landscaping installation go in the right order? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Patio Thoughts

One of the first things we are planning on doing when we move in is have a patio installed.  We were thinking of waiting, but we have a 60 lb dog that is going to need to run around out back (we are also installing a fence, but that's not as exciting as thinking about a new patio!).  We had thought about a deck, but since there isn't much elevation off the ground, I'd prefer something lower maintenance than wood.
So, here is our yard -

Overlooking the back yard from the master bedroom
Taken from the far back corner of our lot looking onto the house.
Here is a look at our plot.  The dotted lines are where the silt fence was in place.

So, as you can see we have a nice sized backyard (at least for new suburban neighborhoods).  We want to put in a patio and firepit to enjoy that space!  Here are some ideas -
Love the different stones around the firepit

Like the lighting feature and large sitting area.

Love the bench around the pit. 

This is actually in our neighborhood and attached to a Rome.  Love that it's big enough for 2 patio tables - great for outdoor entertaining.

I thought this one was neat since it was square.
We are planning on getting estimates and I'll be sure to write about the process!  I'm not sure if we are going to do pavers or stamped concrete... price and durability may dictate that decision. 
What are you planning on doing with your outdoor space if Ryan Homes didn't do a deck or patio for you?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 10 Schedule

Here's our weekly update from our PM -

The final trades are still working to get all their fixtures and other parts installed. I am working hard and calling Virginia Power twice daily for updates on power. The final trades are taking care of loose ends while we wait for power. I am waiting for power to install flooring and begin your final 3 coats of drywall and paint. I am still confident about our delivery date but Virginia Power is slowing things down a little. As for the exterior of your home we moved the concrete apron to your home to give you a better turn into your driveway, installed the driveway and started grading your yard. Your irrigation system will be installed late this week. Hopefully (pending power) your sod will be installed early next week. I am still waiting on a word for your stone to be installed but I am hoping for it to go in this week. 

We were excited to see lots of plumbing updates last night - faucets, toilets and the garage sink all installed! And they put the dishwasher in place!

So, everything is moving along.  We were hoping power would be on in our section of the development at the end of last week, but fingers crossed it will be this week. The other houses on our street that are in sync with us all have stone now, even one that has a delivery date of 2 weeks after us.  The only difference is that our stone is round and the others are stacked.  It would be nice to see the finished exterior!

We are only 22 days away from closing!  I need to start working on to do lists and scheduling moving stuff, so many things!!!

Anyone else working on your pre-moving to-do lists? 

Kitchen Backsplash Thoughts

When we met with the tile/flooring folks, we opted not to get backsplash in the kitchen through them. I wasn't crazy about any of the backsplash options they had (there weren't many), so we decided we would do it on our own (or with help from some family member experts). In our last house, we never got around to doing the backsplash, so I'm determined to get this done early on in this house!

We really like the look of subway tile so we are pretty sure we are going to go with that. Now it's finding the right color. With our cream cabinets, white tile won't look good. The countertops have black, gray, cream, tan, purple all swirled in and the hardwoods are dark. I'm 99% sure we are doing light gray in the kitchen for paint (Benjamin Moore - Wickham Gray).
A collage of our selections.  The granite doesn't look quite the same in person, as you can see in the snapshot to the right, it looks much "cooler" and gray, not as warm as the picture shows here.
We grabbed a few tile options at a tile store to see if they might work.  Both pictures have the same tile, but the lighting is a little different in each.  In order - dark gray, tan/beige, light gray.

This is taken looking straight on at where the stove will be.

This is taken by the morning room, so there is more light.

Based on these 3, we liked the light gray the best (the one on the far right).  The dark gray could work, but I'm worried it will be too dark for the room.  The tan/beige is too warm/yellow and I think is too similar to the granite and the countertops.

My only concern is the amount of gray that we are using - the couch and the fireplace will be gray.  And if we do the walls gray... I don't want it to feel cold.  So we'll just have to make sure we use some warm accents as well.

What are you doing for backsplash? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week 9 - Quick Update!

Hubby stopped by last night and saw that we have a paved driveway, electrical outlets, and our stairs have been ripped out?!?!

Today I stopped by and they've put in our master shower glass walls, all of the towel and toilet paper holders, and all of the shelving in the closets!!!

Here's a picture of the house on Monday or Tuesday...

And here it is on Wednesday with a paved driveway!!!

That's it for now! Happy Thursday night :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 9 Schedule and Questions...

Just a quick drop in for what's on tap for this week!

From our PM: "This week we should be seeing the electricians finishing up installing all the plugs, switches, and correcting the missing items. The plumbers will be in the home putting in the fixtures, and once the power to section 5 is turned on they will start up your HVAC system."

Also, here are a few questions I sent (in bold) with our PM's response (italics)-

If we want to have a fence installed pretty quickly after we take possession of the house, is there any way that we can have the people we want to install the fence come out and review the area to give us an estimate?

It is perfectly fine to have someone come give you an estimate on the fence. I would give them a copy of the preliminary plot plan I gave you during our preconstruction meeting to assist them in being sure they place the fence properly and on your property.
Paint - Is it true that if we paint after we move in that it voids the warranty on all of the walls that are painted? We would like to paint before we move in, but if it means that it will void anything then we won't be doing that. I just wanted to be sure since we are so close now to moving in and making plans for the house!
Painting the walls does not void the warranty. There is only one small change. Our Drywall settlement warranty includes repairing any nail pops or settlement cracks by mudding, sanding and painting these areas back to our color. In the case that you have painted a wall a different color they will still repair any nail pops or settlement cracks by doing the same process, but they will not paint your custom color. They will put our color on the wall as a primer for your paint and you will be responsible for the custom color.

I have many homeowners that choose to paint before the Drywall settlement warranty and have not heard of anyone regretting it. Typically there just may be a few touch up spots of paint on the custom color wall.

I meant to ask you about the posts on the front porch and when they are going up? We have noticed a big difference in the roofline in the past few weeks where one side is getting lower and lower. We measured it on Sunday and it's a 4 inch difference from the roof at the front door to the edge of the porch. That seems like a lot and we can see it as well. We're a little concerned over it potentially pulling away from the house?
The columns will go up once the stone goes on. I know about the difference and so does the column installer. This happens more often than you would think during construction and it will be corrected and leveled by the column installer when he installs the columns.

*We are still slightly concerned over how much the porch roof is leaning, but I am hoping that the PM is correct and it's just something that happens and they will have it taken care of.  Fingers crossed!

Also, we had one more Q & A with our Loan Officer -

I had a quick question for you regarding purchases... we want to buy a new couch for the house.  We can save a couple hundred dollars if we open up a company card.  However, we don't want to do that if it is going to mess up something with the mortgage.  I don't believe you're going to pull our credit again, so I don't think it would cause a problem in that regard... but we aren't sure. We may be overthinking it, but can you let us know as quickly as possible if we can do that? In order to get the couch delivered before Thanksgiving we need to purchase it in the next day or two. 

Please do not open any new credit prior to closing. It impacts your credit score and DTI (debt to income ratio). 

*This is interesting to me and why I think mortgage stuff is so confusing.  We locked in our rate and they pulled our credit since it hadn't been updated since May, but I didn't think about them pulling our credit AGAIN.  That's 3 times they will have pulled it.  That seems a bit much, not to mention that every time they pull your credit it's a hard inquiry that lasts for 7 years on your score.  Geez!  Also, I don't think I'm as big a fan of our LO as I once thought I was. Her answers have been short and not very explanatory lately. 

That's all I got for today - sorry no pictures!     

Monday, October 6, 2014

Couch Success?!?!?

I know you're all sick of me going on and on about finding a couch, but I think we finally found one!

We went by Macy's at the suggestion of a few folks.  I never think of Macy's as a place to check out furniture, but now I know I should!

We strolled through and saw a couple that we liked:

Then a salesman grabbed us and asked a few questions about what we were looking for and pointed us to the Radley. It is regularly $2,699, and it's marked down to $1,769.  We love that the corner seat is functional and the pieces can be rearranged, but do hook together to avoid sliding apart.  SCORE!  We also liked the fabric (it's microfiber) and they had dark gray as a standard color (it's called mocha). 


This is the sheet from the store.  It's hard to read but I wanted to have it documented.  I darkened the pieces that we are doing and this has the dimensions for the Radley Sectional.

I also think we are going to get the ottoman that will match - thoughts?  It's regularly $499 and it's marked down to $299.  We definitely need/want something to go in the middle to prop our feet up on, so I think this would work as good as anything?
Here's a pic from the store as well:
After we found the couch, we went to the house (just before sunset) to measure things out and make sure that the dimensions would work in our space.  And luckily it looks like it will fit well!
This layout is if we keep it as shown in the pics above.
Here we altered to add a single seat to the section against the wall.  I think this is how we will lay it out to make the most of the space and not cut into the walkway into the space.

Ok - couch dilemma has been solved.  Now we just need to go buy it ASAP.  Based on our conversation with the sales guy it will probably be November 20th before it will be delivered.  I will now stop going on about my first world problem of finding the perfect couch for my fabulous new home :)  Did anyone else have any exciting shopping finds this weekend?